Comic Book Community Helps Develop Sojourn

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Derry-based artist Nathan Donnell credits the Irish comic book scene for the successful recruitment of artists for his latest project, Sojourn. This comic book’s story is developed separately by a compilation of artists throughout Ireland.

Set for a late summer release, Nathan confirms that there are already nearly seven pages completed. He said: “We unfortunately couldn’t attend but at Dublin Comic Con, people heard about our project and got involved with it. That was fantastic. Without the Irish comic book scene we wouldn’t have as many people as we have at the minute.

“The idea for project Soujorn came to me when I was sitting at a lecture at university and we were discussing how people build upon one person’s idea in design. I thought ‘What if you could do that for a comic book?’ One person would start off with an idea and then someone else contributes to that idea and you’d end up with something you never thought of when you started out.

“A bit like those kids games where you write one line of a story and someone else writes another line but with artists. So one artist will write the first page, the next artist looks at that page and then writes their page and so on.”

He explains the premise of the story and how it has developed so far: “It starts off with Aurora who made a wish on a falling star which I thought was a really nice concept because it opens up to so much.

“The next artist took it to a fantasy landscape and introduced more characters, then the next artist developed those characters. I have no idea where it’s going to go but I do have an idea of where I want to end it. I’ve done the first page so I’d like to think that I’d do the last few pages as well just to round it off.

“I wanted to call it the journey but that just seemed really boring and bland so I looked up synonyms and Sojourn means a short stay in one place and I thought that’s really apt for what we’re doing as you get to see what one artist does and then it quickly moves on to another. “

Nathan is shocked by the amount of attention Sojourn has been given so far. He said: “When I decided to start project Sojourn I posted on the NN Comics Facebook page and by the next day I had over 150 messages from artists who wanted to get involved, looking for ways to help out with the project. We got people who aren’t even artists, like publicists, interviewers. I was really taken aback by how many people were interested. I didn’t think it would be a big thing.

“At the minute we have 13 to 14 different artists (there’s a list here). I’m working with brilliant guys like Dale Mawhinney his is like fine art. It’s very beautiful. We’re working with Tommie Kelly, he’s done some great work throughout the years. His newest project is called THEM and he sent it to me for a review and it’s truly fantastic. His art style is brilliant.

“There are a lot of different students doing fine art degrees. Some of the artists I’m working with are way above my skill-set and it’s fantastic to get this opportunity to work with them. We met them through comic book conventions, which is a fantastic thing for Ireland.”

Nathan is still keen to recruit more artists to work on a page for Sojourn. He said: “There are so many artists that we want to recruit. We’d like to get people from Lightning Strike they’re fantastic. We’d love if the guys from Uproar Comics would do a page for us because they’re brilliant artists. There is no end to the people we’d like to work with. We hope that everyone who wants to get involved will join us.”

Check out the official Sojourn blog and Facebook page for the project’s upcoming news and information on how to get involved.

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Finola Doran is a student journalist from Derry who mostly writes about music. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter